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Last Updated: Sunday, 28 May 2006, 15:55 GMT 16:55 UK
Thousands walk across new bridge
People walking over the second crossing over the Swale
Thousands of people took the chance to walk over the bridge
Thousands of people have walked across a second bridge linking the Isle of Sheppey with Kent.

The crossing is due to open in weeks and people were being allowed to walk the bridge before it opens to traffic.

Graham Friel, general manager of Sheppey Route Ltd, said pedestrians and cyclists would not be permitted to use the 100m crossing for safety reasons.

"This is an opportunity to cross the bridge on foot and see the surrounding area from this vantage point," he said.

Julian Goffin, spokesman for the Isle of Sheppey Round Table, said it was "possibly the biggest event that Sheppey has held".

Fancy dress

The bridge walk on Sunday took place over several hours.

The Round Table said it had received "numerous requests for people to wear fancy dress or costumes and perform their own rituals as part of the event".

People were not being allowed to walk directly to the site, and were asked to take a free shuttle bus from the car park at Cullet Drive, Queenborough Railway Station, or Minster Bus Route.

Those taking part were advised to check the weather forecast before setting out and were asked not to litter or damage the site.

The second crossing over the Swale

The crossing across The Swale will be officially opened this summer and will have four lanes of traffic and carry about 26,000 vehicles a day.

Work began on the 115ft (35m) high bridge in April 2004.

Before the crossing was built, the island was cut off from the mainland every time the Kingsferry bridge was raised to allow ships to pass along The Swale.

The bridge promises to reduce journey times and congestion and support economic regeneration in north Kent.

The result of a competition to name the bridge, in which some 700 people took part, was announced earlier this year.

Lifelong Sheppey resident Reginald Grimwade, 79, came up with the winning entry and the bridge is to be called The Sheppey Crossing.


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